For over a year now already, BMW has been hyping its iNEXT electric car, which some BMW executives even framed as a ‘Tesla Model 3 competitor’.

Now they unveiled the first glimpse of the design concept for the vehicle.

Very little is known about the iNEXT at this point beyond that it will be an electric vehicle inspired by the recent Vision NEXT concepts unveiled by the German premium brand.

Last year, BMW’s head of sales and marketing, Ian Robertson, casted doubts on Tesla’s ability to produce Model 3 in volume at $35,000 and in the process, he said that the iNext will be the real competitor in the same segment.

It gave us an indication that the vehicle could be priced similarly as the Model 3 and also be a midsize sedan.

Now it’s not much, but today at the company’s Annual General Meeting, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Harald Krüger, unveiled an initial design concept for the iNEXT.

Here’s the image that they released:

Krüger presented the vehicle as BMW’s next flagship vehicle for the lineup:

“The iNEXT project is our building kit for the future. It will benefit the entire company and all our brands. For the first time, we are combining all key technologies for future mobility in one vehicle. The iNEXT is fully electric, fully connected and also offers highly automated driving. Today, we gave our shareholders a very first glimpse of the design of the BMW iNEXT. Later this year, we will be presenting the BMW iNEXT as a Vision Vehicle.”

Earlier this year, BMW also said that it increased the planned range for the iNEXT to an insane 435-mile range.

The vehicle is not expected to enter production until 2021.

Electrek’s Take

I am a little confused. That’s a “glimpse at the design concept”, but BMW now plans to unveil a “Vision Vehicle” as the iNEXT later this year.

So far, BMW’s “Vision Vehicles” have been highly experimental show cars that can give some design cues about the automaker’s future, but that’s about it.

Therefore, I am not sure how much stock we can put into this first “glimpse” at the iNext today.

Either way, the vehicle is still a good 3 years away so it doesn’t have much of an impact at this point and even comments about range don’t mean much right now. All it means is that BMW thinks it will be able to make a Tesla Model 3 competitor with 400 miles of range in 2021.

If you’d ask other automakers, Tesla included, I think they would all say the same thing.

Right now, I’m more excited about BMW’s short-term electric vehicle effort, which should soon materialize into the all-electric Mini and the all-electric BMW iX3 SUV.

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